Featured Member: Daryl Knecht

A career of tech trends

To say one zWORKS member stumbled into the world of technology would be inaccurate. It was more of a calculated stumble.

From computer-aided manufacturing to data analytics to low-code technology, this is the story of an engineer-turned-sales-techy who has made a career of anticipating the next tech trend.

The year was 1999 and Daryl Knecht saw an opportunity.

He started out as a mechanical engineer in the computer-aided design and manufacturing world. During the five years in that industry, he received one too many offers to convert to the sales world and finally acquiesced.

“Ultimately, I married the engineering background with sales and got into the technical sales arena,” he said.

The year was 2009 and Knecht saw an opportunity.

“Along the lines of the book & movie Moneyball, there was a c-level pull for leveraging data to make better decisions for their business,” Knecht said. “So, I started researching the best data analytics companies there were at the time.”

He landed at SAS Institute where he spent the next decade riding on the data analytics trend.

The year was 2019 and Knecht saw an opportunity.

“I came back and wanted to look at what the next hot technology was, and I think it’s this thing called low-code technology,” he said.

Knecht started working at Appian earlier this year as a Vice President of Sales. It’s a low-code technology platform that research firm Forrester claims is 10 to 20 times faster than traditional software for applications.

Knecht compared the building of applications along the lines of Lego blocks. “In Appian, you don’t code your application, you draw it like a flowchart.”

He added that it is very intuitive to business people, and business and IT can be aligned. From there, technology like AI, RPA and business rules can be applied. So you’re not just building applications faster – you’re building smarter applications – a digital transformation to drive your business.

His favorite part of the job is when companies are able to build great software applications for themselves.

“That’s been the fun part,” he said. “Seeing companies start with their first application and then the light bulb goes off. They see how easy it is to build.”

Throughout his journey, Knecht has seen a few commonalities. It’s all problem solving, he said.

“In engineering, you take what you’re given and you look at what you’re supposed to find then you go about the process of helping solve the problem,” he said. “It’s really no different in sales.”

From the leadership perspective, he added that authenticity, clear expectations and being interested in your employees’ career paths are three of the most important things to him no matter what industry.

To learn more about Appian, head to their website. To get in touch with Knecht, email him at daryl.knecht@appian.com.


Getting to know Daryl…

  • Daryl is married with 5 kids and has lived in Zionsville since 1999.
  • One of his hidden talents is being the world’s best parallel parker.